Pudgy awoke as Xylenia was shaking from side to side. “Xylenia, are you, all right?” The hedgehog stammered out, and the dragon giggled. “Good Morning Pudgy, yes I am fine, I hit a bit of turbulence. We are here,” she said as she had adjusted her wings to start to descend. Pudgy could see the city of Savannah stretching all around, and the ocean in the distance. The smell of salt water was in the air, even this far away. There was a big park that his dragon friend was flying towards. It was tree lined on all sides and had 2 long swaths of green fields. The furthest part of the park was heavily forested, and the hedgehog held on tight as the dragon started to dive.
Taking on a terrific amount of speed, she quickly skirted the treetops, and then began to land on a grassy field. She titled her hips back and lowered her tail, causing her front to lift. And soon she was down on the ground, galloping as she landed. The dragon slowed, and then came to a stop, while folding her wings back. The morning light was just starting to crest over the horizon, “oh good, we got here before sun rise.” Pudgy nodded again, “Yes, Pudgy agree. People are not used to seeing dragons flying, so that would have been bad. I wonder where the elves are?” The dragon nodded, “most likely back in the forest, to remain hidden.” Pudgy looked confused, “If Glitter can not be here, how are they able to?”
Xylenia nodded, “I am unsure of that myself, so we will both find out soon.” The dragon walked slowly and was recovering from the long flight. But in a short period of time, they had reached the woods, with what appeared to be a band stand of some sort in the distance. Pudgy looked left and right, while Xylenia walked. He could not see anything out of the ordinary, asides from the occasional walking trail and stone lined path for humans to walk around on. But as his dragon friend stopped, Pudgy could see the outlines of a small camp of some sort. “Over there Xylenia!” he said while tugging on the strap. She turned her head, “good catch Pudgy, there is the base camp.”
As the two approached, they could see tents set up in neat rows. The tents were in the digital camouflage style: though they were red, black, and white. Elves in similar military unforms were standing around, holding binoculars, and rifles shouldered on their backs. Once spotted, there was a flurry of activity. The elves were about a foot tall, so a little more than double Pudgy’s height. They were fair skinned, with bright eyes of either blue or silver. When Xylenia reached the perimeter, the guard elves spoke in a clear tone. “Xylenia, you are one hour late.” The dragon looked at the elf, “Really, do you know how long it takes to fly from Novia Scotia to Georgia? Plus, I had to pick up Pudgy.”
Pudgy looked down at the elf and waved. The elf rolled his eyes, “all right, the HSSA will see you in the center tent, you may proceed.” As the dragon passed by the check point, a faint shimmer appeared and soon the camp was bathed in a glow. Pudgy felt weird, “Pudgy don’t feel so good.” Xylenia nodded, “Ahh I see, you made a bubble to shield you from the exterior lands.” An elderly elf walked out, leaning on a white wood walking stick. He too was dressed in a similar camouflage outfit, though, his shoulder held medallions and insignia indicating he was in charge. A long white beard hung to close to his belt line, and thick spectacles on his nose. In main ways, we resembled Santa, though he clearly was not. Pudgy was starting to recover and looked down at the elderly elf. “What does HSSA stand for?”
The elf looked up at Pudgy, “Ahh White Hat Pudgy Hedgehog, we finally meet. I have been informed of your assistance during the Vril attack from last year. I see my request has been approved, as well as the allocation of Xylenia Dragon. HSSA stands for Head Santa Security Agent. I oversee this operation, and my name is Redd.” Pudgy let go of the straps and fell from Xylenia onto the ground. While he was recovering, he felt dizzy. The older elf placed a hand on the hedgehog’s shoulder. “It will pass, just give it time. For now, let me debrief you on what has happened. Mrs. Claus is of the utmost importance to our operation, and her safe return is paramount. Our intelligence thus far is that she arrived here in Savannah two weeks ago and was in regular contact with us until four days prior to today. Her earrings allow us to communicate and track her. Agent 72 was able to locate one of the earrings, having been left at a local food establishment. It is run by this human male.” HSSA Redd pointed to a large screen, which soon a picture of a middle-aged man with a short cut dark brown hairdo, and full brown beard appeared. He was wearing a white chef’s coat and was standing in a southern style restaurant.
Pudgy blinked, “That’s Mister Chef, Pudgy talked to him a couple times online. He’s nice,” The head agent looked at him, and then walked over and started to high pressure interrogate Pudgy for every detail he knew. Pudgy tried to answer the questions, but he was under so much pressure, he started to cry. The other elves chuckled, seeing the hedgehog crack under that intense pressure. The agent stopped and patted his head. “Pudgy, calm yourself. I am not mad at you, but we need to locate Mrs. Claus as soon as possible. Pudgy took a deep breath, and then started to answer the questions asked of him. This time since it was slower, he could respond.
After a couple of minutes, the HSSA rubbed his chin. “Hmm, he may not be an enemy, but this Chefzilla is a person of interest in our investigation. Ok, Pudgy I will assign you one of my agents. Head to the restaurant and scour it for details. You may need to follow the Chef to attain more details.” A picture of the local rea appeared on the white screen, and Pudgy started to study it. Soon an elf wearing a black outfit, with black sunglasses, and a respirator was standing beside him. He saluted the HSSA, who saluted back. Pudgy wiggled his nose, “should Pudgy salute also?” The agent laughed, “no, you are a civilian. But if this works out, I can see a future for you within our operations. Ok, 72 please accompany Pudgy Hedgehog to the restaurant, dismissed!”
The agent nodded and motioned for Pudgy to follow. The hedgehog nodded, and scampered beside the elf, until he crossed the barrier. The world returned to its normal coloration, and his head immediately began to clear. However, the elf was wobbly beside him and leaned against a tree. “Pudgy say we should wait a bit, let your head clear Mister 72.” The elf nodded and dropped to his knees. Pudgy turned to watch Xylenia cruel up in an empty spot by the tents, and then wave at him. She dropped her head down and fell asleep. The hedgehog was glad she could rest now and turned to his elf agent. “Is Mister Elf ok now?” The agent nodded, and then started to walk beside the hedgehog as he scampered through the tall grass that jutted around the large trees.
In a short period of time, they had reached the edge of the park, as it connected to the roads that led further into downtown Savannah. Pudgy remembered from the map shown, that it was going to be a far distance, but he would be all right. The hedgehog was more concerned about his elf friend, who despite the protective gear, was clearly still wobbly. Pudgy stopped and looked left, then right, before he stepped onto the concrete sidewalk. The little hedgehog started to scamper along the sidewalk, until he reached the cross walk. The cars were zipping past at a fair speed, so it would be much safer crossing there. Upon reaching the pole where the button could be pressed to trigger the cross walk, Pudgy pondered how to push the button. He turned to his companion, but found he was alone. “Oh no, Pudgy lost Mister 72. Pudgy need to push the button,” he said while watching a shimmer pass him. It ascended the pole, and the button went click. The elf dropped beside him, “optical camouflage. I am with you.” The elf’s high pitched but stern sounding voice spoke.
The traffic light changed to red, and the walking symbol glowed across the street. Pudgy started to run, because he knew there was only a short time to cross. The counter on the sign counted down, and just as the count reached zero, the hedgehog made it to the next sidewalk. Panting, Pudgy stopped a moment to catch his breath. The cars started to move once more, and several white delivery trucks passed by honking their horns. The hedgehog then turned, and started to walk along the sidewalk, looking at the stately Victorian era buildings and mansions. There was a big mansion house across the road, with a statue of a wild boar out front.
After traversing one block, they came to another street, though this one without a crossing signal. So as Pudgy looked left and right, he took a deep breath and ran like crazy again. He dodged a tan colored Buick and reached the next curb. As the tired hedgehog looked forward, he could see another park. Pudgy rubbed his eyes with his paw and settled in for a long trip. The critter marveled at how the city was laid out. It seemed the path he was taking, was 2 city blocks, then a park, then 3 more city blocks, then another park. They had entered a shopping district area, with tree lined streets. Where Pennsylvania’s trees had lost most to all their leaves, here in Georgia they were still green and full of life.
Pudgy leaned against a white stucco wall and looked up at a misspelled store sign that said Chocolat. “Chocolate, mm that sounds good.” As the little hedgehog peeked into the door, he saw a woman tasting a piece of fudge. Looking around, Pudgy could not see the elf nor his shimmering, so perhaps a side trip would be ok. He scampered inside the chocolate store and found neat shelves and glass display cases everywhere. He could not see the chocolates, but he could smell them. His nose twitched, and then saw a smiling woman with long brown hair pulled back and stuffed into a hairnet. She was wearing a white apron, with a company name on it.
The woman looked down at the hedgehog with his white Santa hat on, sitting on the green tile floor. “Oh my, and who might you be? Are you lost?” The woman who had been tasting fudge turned, and she immediately smiled when she caught sight of the hedgehog. “PUDGY!” She knelt and quickly scooped up the hedgehog and began to hug him. Long light brown hair cascaded down her front, and partially covered him. Pudgy wiggled his nose and then started to bounce happily. “Hi Blood Honey, Pudgy so glad to see you!” The chocolate store worker’s eyes went wide when the hedgehog started to talk, and then hug back. The two women giggled, and then watched while Blood Honey gently placed Pudgy on the glass counter.
The hedgehog looked into the case, “Oh boy, all the chocolates look so good. Umm, miss Lady, why is the sign spelled wrong outside?” The worker started to laugh, “it’s a French spelling. But I must say, I never thought a talking hedgehog would ever come to the store.” His friend was still smiling, and nodded, “Pudgy I was hoping to see you again, but never thought here in Savannah. What are you doing down here?” The hedgehog pondered a moment and realized he should not tell them about the elves. “Pudgy down here to find someone who is missing. Another Pudgy friend very worried and asked Pudgy to help find her.” The store worker nodded, “oh my, that is serious. What does she look like?” Pudgy started to describe what Mrs. Claus looked like, “she is tall, with faint blue eyes, and long blonde hair that is almost graying.”
Blood Honey nodded, “Hmm, I do not remember seeing anyone like that. I just got into town yesterday, though.” The chocolate store worker nodded, “hmm,” then began to rub her chin with a hand covered by a plastic glove. “Oh, my I remember her, she was in the store about a week ago. She bought three dozen truffles, was a cash sale too. She said she was staying at the Foley House Inn I believe; it is just over there.” She pointed and continued, “go down the street, through Chippewa square, and then it is across the street.” Pudgy bounced happily, “Thank you miss Chocolate Lady, Pudgy need to go now!” He scampered across the case, and then slid down the side of the case and bounced down onto the floor. He waved at Blood Honey, “Bye Blood Honey!” His friend paid for her order and giggled with the store clerk, while the two waved at the hurrying hedgehog.
As the hedgehog exited the store, he saw the shimmering field beside a green trash can that was on the sidewalk. Pudgy scampered over and called out, “Pudgy found out, she is at the Foley House Inn. It’s over there.” The shimmering then immediately rushed forward and took off at a tremendous rate of speed to reach the park in seconds. As Pudgy was scampering, he was scooped up again by his human friend. Blood Honey smiled down at the hedgehog in her one hand, and a bag of chocolates in the other. “Pudgy, I will help you get over there. You shouldn’t have scampered off like that.” Pudgy looked up and bounced, watching as the ground quickly sped by as his human friend was walking.
The woman giggled, then crossed the street to reach Chippewa Square. It was another small park, with walking trails. Though the park’s claim to fame, was it was where the bench for a famous movie by some guy named Tom starred in. That movie too featured chocolates, which was appropriate as she was holding a bag of chocolates. As the two passed by a white stone monument, with a bronzed statue of a uniformed solider, the outlines of the surrounding buildings peeked through the trees. The side of an exceptionally large church was facing the park, and several stately brick buildings surrounded the park.
Passing by a flowering bush, with purple flowers, Blood Honey reached a sidewalk, and then headed to the cross walk. There was an orange brick building in the distance, with black shutters. There was a sign that read Foley, as well as a round covered awning over the front door. Pudgy looked up at his friend, “Pudgy glad to see you, did not expect to see you.” The woman smiled, and then when the signal flashed across the street, she started to walk. “Well Pudgy, I moved down here to be with my boyfriend. He surprised me with a Christmas present trip to Savannah. Though, he must work for a day or two first. I had a need for chocolate, and that store seemed nice. I was surprised, and awfully glad to see you scamper inside the store.” The hedgehog bounced in her hand, and then watched as she reached the opposite sidewalk. Turning to the left, they started to head towards the inn. “Did you ever make it to New Orleans?”
The hedgehog explained that he in fact did make it there and started to tell her a grand tale. Sadly, the steamboat did not make the return trip, so Cobalt had to pick him up. The two friends reached the front door, with a frosted glass front and the requisite details about the inn painted onto the glass in an artful style. Opening the door, they walked into a grant entranceway. The columns were of dark stained mahogany, with a red brick fireplace complete with a lit fire. A huge mirror hung over the fireplace, which Blood honey smiled when she saw Pudgy and her in the mirror. The walls were covered with beige striped wallpaper and was set up in a formal style.
Somewhere Christmas music was playing, from cleverly designed speakers hidden away in pots of flowers, that flanked the room. The front desk of the inn was located nearby, with an older woman smiling at the new visitors. “Hello, welcome to the Foley House Inn.” The front desk clerk was wearing a black and burgundy uniform and had her silver hair pulled up into a bun. Blood honey walked over, and set Pudgy down on the brown wood counter. Pudgy waved at the clerk, “Hello Miss Lady, can you help Pudgy please?” The clerk blinked her brown eyes in disbelief, and then adjusted the glasses on the tip of her nose. “Did you just talk?” Pudgy nodded and bounced happily, which drew more looks, as well as a ginger touching of his head with her quivering fingers.
When she confirmed the hedgehog was in fact real, and sitting there, she nodded. “Well I will try, umm… Pudgy is it?” Pudgy nodded, while Blood Honey stood at the counter and giggled behind him. “Pudgy friend is missing and might be here. She is tall, with fair skin, and long blonde hair that is turning silver. Her name is Alexandria,” The hedgehog stated in a clear tone. The clerk nodded, “why yes I can definitely look at our bookings, as well as our security footage. But I must ask, who told you she is missing? Normally missing person cases are handled by the police, not hedgehogs.” The clerk noticed the white Santa hat the hedgehog was wearing, as well as the tiny backpack.
“Pudgy friend with Alexandra husband, who is worried. He could not come, so send Pudgy down to see what is going on. If Alexandria ok, then Pudgy will tell him.” The clerk smiled, “Oh, so the husband is checking up on her, I see. Send you to do the dirty work, while he is blameless.” The two women laughed, while the clerk checked the computer terminal. The keyboard clicked while it was typed upon, and soon a beep sounded. “Yes, she is booked here for two weeks. Alexandria Klaus, she is in the Suffolk room, which is 205 on the second floor. Would you like me to call the room?” Pudgy nodded, “Yes please!” The clerk smiled, and then picked up an antique rotary phone, and then started to dial the room.
As they watched the clerk, Blood Honey opened her bag and started to nibble on a chocolate turtle that she had bought. It was not actually a turtle, but pecans, caramel, and chocolate in the shape of a turtle. It was wickedly sweet and was a sure way to super charge Pudgy. She decided to not tell him about the turtles for now and watched as the hedgehog bounced happily on the counter, while looking at all the wonderful things in the room. “Hello, this is the front desk. There are 2 visitors here asking about you. Well, a woman with long brown hair, and a talking hedgehog wearing a Santa hat. Yes, I see, Thank you.”
The clerk hung up the phone and smiled. “yes, Alexandria is here, and would like for you to come upstairs. To get to room 205, please go down that hallway, and take the stairs to floor 2, then make a left and follow the signs. Pudgy was scooped back up by his friend, who smiled and waved at the clerk. “Thank you miss Lady!” The woman smiled and watched the two head down the hallway she had directed them to. Soon they had disappeared, and she rubbed her temples, “talking hedgehogs … what next?” She watched as the front door opened by itself, and then several shimmering clouds darted along the floor. She took off her glasses, “Ok, my blood sugar is falling, I need something to eat.” The clerk left, pushing out the strange happenings from her mind.
While Blood Honey ascended the stairs, they exited to floor 2, which was in a strict southern formal style of decoration. Green velvet carpets ran the length of the hallways, with small white tables adorned with baskets of flowers. Various portraits hung on the wall, with little golden lighted placards of the various southern dignitaries that had stayed within the inn. The room numbers continued to descend, with even room numbers on the left, and odd numbers on the right. Soon they reached the correct room, and the woman stopped at the door. It was a thick white wooden door, with a peep hole in the top middle of the door. Using the back of her hand, her knuckles connected with the door, and she knocked a couple of times.
Movement could be heard within the room, and soon the peep hole went from light to dark, then light once more. The door lucks turned and began to swing open. Standing behind the door, there was a tall woman, just as Pudgy described. She was wearing a red dress with white lace, that came to her knee. Her soft bleu eyes were almost piercing and were kindly watching them. Pudgy waved and bounced excitedly, “Hi Alexandria, Pudgy came to save you!” The two women started to laugh, “Please come in Pudgy and Beth.” She stepped aside, and Blood Honey started to enter the room, though how did this strange woman know what her name was?”
The door swung shut and clicked as it settled into place, while the two entered the room. The room had red walls, with a huge white marble fireplace. There was an oil painting of children playing with toys in front of a fire, while golden mirrors flanking each side. There was a huge bed, though it was not made, and its heavy white blankets were off to the side. Alexandria walked beside the surprised woman giving her a questioning glance. She reached out to take Pudgy from Beth’s hands, and then looked at him with a soft expression. “Let me guess, the elves said I was missing? I am fine Pudgy; I was just busy and having a good time.”
Pudgy started to hug her, and the kind woman hugged gently back. Beth was staring in disbelief, “wait a moment, did you say elves?” Alexandria nodded and motioned her to sit a in a stuffed leather Victorian chair. While Beth moved over and sat down, she watched Alexandria sit down on the edge of the bed. “Yes, I did, Beth. And I am sure you are wondering how I know your name? Well, my husband has a list of good and bad children, and your name was always on the good list.” Beth shot her a glare, “wait, why am I on a list! Wait a second, a list of both good and bad children? Are you? You can’t be?” Pudgy looked up at Beth, “Blood Honey, this is Mrs. Claus. Remember when Pudgy said he helped Santa last year?”
Beth blinked in sheer disbelief, and then looked up at Alexandria. She was quiet, and rubbed her temples covering her eyes as she processed what was just revealed to her. Mrs. Claus crossed her long legs and sat Pudgy on her bare knee and started to look at her little friend. The hedgehog looked older, but he had unnatural white spots throughout his fur. His quills were starting to turn silver, which drew an immediate concerning look. “Pudgy, what have you been up to? Tell me everything,” Alexandria said. The hedgehog began his grand tale, of everything that has happened since he had returned from the north pole.
As his story progressed, both Alexandria as well as Beth stared in disbelief at the myriad of adventures. He had gone to the moon, searched for and fought with Civil war Ghosts, and went on a steam boar adventure to New Orleans. The story was paused while Alexandria moved over to sit in a chair opposite from Beth, who had forgotten about Mrs. Claus, and was worrying about her hedgehog friend now. The story continued with the revolutionary war, then world war one adventures, meeting the demonic forces of the Kaiser. As Pudgy spoke about the rescue of Angeliki, Alexandria covered her chest with one of her hands while sitting forward. Once Pudgy was done with his stories, Beth jumped up from her chair and scooped him up.
She was crying and hugging the hedgehog tightly. “Pudgy, I am so glad you are safe. Please do not go on any more adventures, I am unsure if you will survive another one.” Alexandria nodded, “I am inclined to agree with Beth, Pudgy. A small voice by the door rang out, “I had no idea.” As the two women looked up, a shimmering light revealed slowly a figure dressed in red and black camouflage. The figure was about twice the height of pudgy. Beth’s eyes went wide, and she pointed, “what is that?” Alexandria giggled, “breathe, slowly, don’t hyperventilate. Agent, I see you enlisted Pudgy hedgehog for your search?” The elf approached and saluted her.
“Yes ma’am, the SIA have the area under surveillance, and your room is now guarded by the SIA. I am agent 72.” Alexandria giggled, and then looked at Pudgy once more. The hedgehog was still on the bed, bouncing happily. “Agent, I regret to inform you, that I will not be returning just yet. I am still needed here.” The agent stood silently, and Pudgy waved at her. “Pudgy want to help Mrs. Claus!” Beth had recovered from her hyperventilating and looked at the elf with wide eyes full of disbelief. His long ears jutted out from a military style hat dotted with red and black checkers. She met Mrs. Claus, an elf dressed in a military outfit, and her hedgehog friend in Savannah: what else was coming? Alexandria looked over at Beth, “my husband Santa Claus, allows me to exit the north pole and surrounding lands once a year. Usually it occurs during the summer, though this year due to a variety of factors, I was delayed till the fall.”
Pudgy nodded and listened intently. Beth nodded as well and muttered under her breath, “of course your husband is Santa.” Alexandria nodded to herself, “there is a children’s hospital nearby to here that I have been assisting at. I need to let them know I will be leaving soon.” The elf agent nodded, and started to touch his right ear, a clicking sound with a hiss of a radio signal started to be heard. After a couple moments, the elf looked up at Mrs. Claus again. “Ma’am, the HSSA is indicating that we need to leave immediately. Santa is…” Alexandria snapped at the elf in a sharp tone, “I told you, I am not leaving just yet Agent!” That snapped everyone in the room back to attention when the woman’s voice was raised.
Pudgy scampered to hide under a pillow and peeked out after a couple of moments. When Alexandria saw him timidly looking out, she calmed herself and giggled again. Beth turned to her, “Umm, Mrs. Claus, may I ask a question?” The older woman turned and nodded, “Yes, what is it my dear?” Beth swallowed a couple of times, and before she could even speak the older woman nodded. “I see, you are confused about how Santa, the elves, and I exist? I get that question a lot actually.” Pudgy wiggled his nose and watched his friend squirm a bit in her seat, before she nodded, “It’s almost as if you can read my mind? Wait, is that how Santa knows if someone is naughty?”
Mrs. Claus laughed, “well, I can see your expression, and I know this has been a lot to take in, so it makes sense that would be your first question. The truth is ….” Beth’s eyes grew very tired suddenly, and soon without warning she slumped over in her chair and had fallen asleep. Pudgy sniffed the air, and the faint smell of cinnamon was wafting in the air. The elf Agent 72 materialized from behind Beth’s head, and had an empty tube of a shimmering gas. Pudgy frowned and pointed, “what did you do to Blood Honey?” Mrs. Claus nodded, “I was wondering when you were going to do that. Do not worry Pudgy, it is a mild sedative. We will take your friend Beth back to her hotel in the city. When she wakes in a couple of hours, she will remember that she had bought chocolates, and walked back to the hotel where she is staying. She will not remember any of this, nor meeting you today.”
The hedgehog frowned, “Did you really need to do that? Beth is Pudgy friend and help Pudgy get here to inn.” The elf agent motioned to Mrs. Claus, “We need to keep a low profile, while she remains here. The existence of Santa and his operation must remain a source of joy and wonder, but ultimately a fantasy. If humans were to know all of us were real, there would be severe complications.” Alexandria sighed, “while I disapprove of their methods, I can see the logic in their actions. I will give you an example. If Santa were to be proven real, it would disrupt the world. Toy companies for instance, employ thousands of workers, who in turn support millions of families. If children knew Santa was real, they would wait for his toy, and not want a store-bought toy. There would be worldwide pain, as the companies closed, and people were out of work.”
Pudgy nodded, “Pudgy understands. When Pudgy spoke to candy clerk, and front desk clerk, Pudgy did not say who you were. Pudgy said you were friend, who was missing. Please do not gas them too,” the hedgehog made hopeful eyes at her. Alexandria nodded, “I promise, they will be fine Pudgy. Now, let me assist our Agent friend here with Beth.” As the older woman stood up, she walked over to Beth, and ran her hand along her face. “You certainly have grown more beautiful as you aged my dear. I am sure your boyfriend’s reason for brining you here will become clear later this week.” Alexandria reached to her left ear and touched a crystal ornament earing. It started to glow, and then in a burst of snowflake sparkles, Beth disappeared from the chair.
The hedgehog waved when she turned around, “Mrs. Claus, Pudgy was told about your earrings. Did you teleport Beth back to her hotel room?” She nodded, and then sat back down, crossing her long legs the other way. Pudgy started to see something, but immediately closed his eyes before he got in trouble. That drew a loud laughter from the woman who called out, “it is safe to look now.” Pudgy opened his eyes, and saw the agent was now sitting beside him. Pudgy rubbed his chin and pointed at her right ear, “The elves at the camp said they found your other earring. It was at a restaurant, that Pudgy knows the Chef. Boy, I hope Mr. Chef is ok.”
Mrs. Claus blinked, and looked at the Agent, “72, what does Pudgy mean?” The agent nodded, “when we arrived, and began our search, our initial tracking of your homing signal, led us to a restaurant. We have obtained the Chef and retrieved your earring. He is currently undergoing intensive questioning.” Pudgy turned to the elf, “what, but Mr. Chef is nice, please don’t hurt him!” Mrs. Claus nodded, “I agree with Pudgy, please do not do anything rash.” The agent looked sheepish, and then radioed over his headset. After several uncomfortable minutes passed, the elf nodded. “The person of interest has been tracked to an establishment along the riverfront. A place called the Boar’s Head Tavern, I believe. The human was too large to drag back to the safe house and resisted our sleep gas.”
The woman sighed, and then rubbed her temples. “Pudgy, as you can see, this is why I leave the North Pole occasionally. Every time I experience a new place, the SIA or the Elf Military forces arrive. Do not get me started on what happened in Birmingham.” The elf looked nervous, “Ma’am, we have agreed to not discuss that matter.” Pudgy looked confused and rubbed his belly. The woman smiled, and nodded, “I too am hungry Pudgy. How about we head to that tavern, I have eaten there several times, since coming here. I must get ready for an excursion though.” As she stood up, Pudgy covered his eyes with his paws. The elf covered his eyes as well, which drew a big laugh from Alexandria. In a little less than an hour, she was ready, and while she had the same vibrant dress on, she had a variety of stockings and accessories that women require to be able to go out in public. As she tossed a red and silver purse strap over her shoulder, she reached down to gently scoop up Pudgy from the bed. The elf agent went invisible once more, and soon they had exited the room.
Pudgy was looking forward to going to dinner with Alexandria and stayed very still while she was varying him. They descended the staircase and headed through the lobby. The clerk waved at Pudgy, who waved back, with Mrs. Claus smiling in return as well. Upon exiting the inn, she turned and began to walk down the sidewalk. The route to the tavern was direct, and not too far away by foot. She walked it several times, and it took about 15 minutes to go there. Pudgy was so soft in her hands and was being particularly good while she was carrying him. They passed by an exceptionally large stone church, and the clock tower on its roof started to chime three times. “3 o’clock, hmm, that means those fritters should still be available. Mr. Chef as you call him, is the head chef at that restaurant. I haven’t had a bad thing yet, and I eat there quite often.” Pudgy nodded, and started to hug her gently, and excitedly looked around at the unfolding scenery as they passed through the city.